The Truth Literacy Emergency Campaign

Here's where we can discuss projects we are considering, ongoing projects, project results, and so on. This is a tremendous opportunity to share with others what we have learned.
Jack Harich
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Joined: Sat Jul 02, 2005 5:43 pm
Location: Atlanta, Georgia, US
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The Truth Literacy Emergency Campaign

Postby Jack Harich » Wed Nov 09, 2016 8:56 am

On November 8, 2016 the power of deception caused Donald Trump to win the presidency of the United States. Because Trump is clearly unqualified and promotes policies that would be ruinous to the United States and the world, this is a disaster. The goal of this project is to help prevent disasters like this from happening again. We cannot unelect Trump. But we can prevent more Trumps.

We need your help. No one person can change a social system as large as a nation alone.

What to do? The analysis at Thwink.org concluded, in the Dueling Loops paper (first published in December 2005) that politicians like Trump can win easily. All they have to do is use deception to trick enough voters into voting against their own best interests. WHY does this work? The root cause appears to be low general ability to detect political deception.

In other words, truth literacy is currently so low that deception is the winning strategy. The average voter is never trained in how to spot political deception. It thus works like a charm, because the mind treats an undetected falsehood (a lie) the same as the truth. But if we can raise truth literacy from low to high, then mass political deception will no longer work and politicians like Trump, and parties like the US Republicans, will no longer be able to trick voters into voting against their own best interests.

To initiate this project, I'm personally contacting the sharpest people I know who seem like they would like to help. Let's use this forum to discuss this extremely important and urgent problem, and to take some sort of effective actions. This is an invitation only forum. If you would like to participate, please contact us.

To get up to speed on where the Thwink.org research is on this topic, please see this article: Digging Down to the Root Cause of the Trump Phenomenon. This was published on November 3, 2016, five days before the election.

Trump's victory shows that the very survival of modern democracy is at stake. If deception continues to be the winning strategy, then The Race to the Bottom Among Politicians feedback loop (as explained in the above two links) will continue to be the dominant loop most of the time, and the common good of The People will not prevail. Instead, the uncommon good of special interests will prevail, by using proxies like Trump to promote their policies.

Thanks. Let's hope that by using the power of rational analysis and the truth about what's best for all, we can prevail over the power of deception.

Jared Babula
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Nov 12, 2016 9:48 am

Re: The Truth Literacy Emergency Campaign

Postby Jared Babula » Sat Nov 12, 2016 1:44 pm

You can have a system of unlimited wealth concentration or you can have democracy, but not both. As the economist Thomas Picketty noted in his study of capitalism, the concentration of wealth is a systemic feature of capitalism and not simply an effect of some policies. There needs to be affirmative policies in place to counter this systemic wealth concentration which is corrosive to social stability. The sense many of us have is that those struggling to make ends meet, especially from rural areas, just got conned by a person who has no interest in preserving democracy or in the plight of the rural working class, but every intention to continue and accelerate the concentration of wealth.

Dueling Loops Model:

According to this model, for oppression to succeed in a democracy, there must be people susceptible to deception, lies, half-truths etc. Based on data provided in "Digging Down to the Root Cause of the Trump Phenomenon" Trump puts forth high rates of deception and lies and thus can dominate the race to the bottom loop and such deception will draw in those who have low truth literacy.

Here in Marin County California, which is just north of San Francisco, Clinton won 79% of the vote. (62% for the state as a whole and 85% in the city of San Francisco) So one question is why are there vast differences in deception IQ from those seen in other parts of California and especially the mid-west, despite everybody hearing the same lies and deception from Trump and seeing the same media stories, commercials, fact checking results, debates etc. It is clear truth literacy is not spread evenly. Understanding this dispersion will allow for more focused intervention to raise the deception IQ of susceptible groups and reverse the dominance of the loops.

Education would seem to be a good place to start. In looking at demographic data for the election from the Pew Trust, Washington Post and New York Times we find the following:

No College Degree: College Degree
All Voters DT+8 All Voters HC+4
White males DT+49 White males DT+15
White females DT+28 White females HC+6
Non-white male HC+43 Nonwhite males HC+37
Non-white females HC+65 Nonwhite females HC+57

Those with graduate degrees HC+21

90% of those registered as a republican voted for Trump.

If ability to detect deception is based on education, why do non-whites, at the same education level, appear to have vastly higher deception IQs than whites? More importantly, it appears that better educated whites are less able to determine the truth than lower educated nonwhites. If ability to detect deception was based on education these patterns would look different and one would expect a much lower percentage of republican voters actually voting for Trump because they would understand they are voting against their interest and for oppression. While I was not able to find specific statistics of the educational levels of Republicans, I suspect a robust mix of levels that would result in less concentrated support for Trump.

Is it possible that people understand the deception and lies and still choose to vote against their interest because of some other driving force? There seems to be some evidence of this. In a NYT candidate quality survey HC seemed to have a significant edge:

"Cares about me" HC 58 DT 42
"Can Bring Change" HC 14 DT 83
"Expirence" HC 90 DT 8
"Good Judgment" HC 66 DT 26

The ability to bring change favored Trump. One working theory is that the desire for any type of change, by a growing segment of the population, was so strong, it overcame their rational understanding of Trumps deception. A final statistic that has some bearing is:

White evangelical/born again DT+65

This is the most baffling stat as Trump displays little that reflects the moral teachings of religion.

In summary there are two things that need to be considered:
1) Are people who feel cornered and desperate for any change or those committed to religious doctrine, knowingly voting against their interest and aware of the deception, but nevertheless, being driven by other behavior and choosing Trump anyway? If so how does the dueling loops model account for this.

2) Is there some other type of education other than traditional schooling, or are there specific fields of study, that allows people to be more likely to detect deception?

Jared Babula
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Nov 12, 2016 9:48 am

Re: The Truth Literacy Emergency Campaign

Postby Jared Babula » Sun Dec 11, 2016 12:51 am

In the last post I questioned what exactly is the factor that allows some to detect deception and other to become captured by it. Based on the data excerpted from the recent election, traditional academics, did not necessarily track voting patterns and thus predict the ability to detect deception. I recently began reading Nature and the Human Soul Cultivating Wholeness and Community in a Fragmented World by Dr. Bill Plotkin. His findings and analysis appears to provide an answer. The key factor is where you are in the maturation process. As he states:

“In current Western and Westernized societies, in addition to the scarcity of true maturity, many people of adult age suffer from a variety of adolescent psychopathologies–incapacitating social insecurity, identity confusion, extremely low self-esteem, few or no social skills, narcissism, relentless greed, arrested moral development, recurrent physical violence, materialistic obsessions, little or no capacity for intimacy or empathy, substance addictions, and emotional numbness. We see these psychopathologies most glaringly in leaders and celebrities of the Western world: Politicians blatantly motivated by image preservation, reelection prospects, power, wealth, and privilege…Captains of industry reaching unprecedented nadirs of greed and power obsessions... When we take an honest look at the people in charge of the governments, corporations, schools and religious organizations…we find that too many are psychological adolescents with no deep understanding of themselves or the natural environment that makes their lives possible."

“As soon as enough people in contemporary societies progress beyond adolescence the entire consumer-driven economy and egocentric lifestyle will implode…The industrial growth society is simply incompatible with collective human maturity. No true adult wants to be a consumer, worker bee, or tycoon, or a soldier in an imperial war, and none would go through these motions if there were other options at hand. The enlivened soul and wild nature are deadly to industrial growth economies– and vice versa.”

Plotkin's research has resulted in his development of an 8 stage progression that should result in what he terms an "elder". But our western culture fails to advance most people beyond the "adolescent" stage, which is the stage that benefits corporate power the most. While this stage is valuable as part of the maturation process, it is a detriment to society and individuals, if adolescence becomes the primary stage most people are stuck in. Note that these stages are not tied to any specific chronological age. The primary barrier to developing into an adult and then on to elder status from adolescence is a complete lack of connection to nature and an understanding of our relationship within nature. Our consumer society has lost its tools to develop mature adults. We need to move from being egocentric adolescents to ecocentric adults and ultimately create a population of elders.

Plotkin's insight can be applied to the dueling loops model by considering that those in the egocentric adolescent stage are more likely to fall for deception and lies while those who have moved out of the adolescent stage are more likely to detect deception. A higher leverage point would be to focus on moving people from these lower stages to the higher stages and certainly out of adolescence. Doing so is not about academic degrees but connecting with nature as has traditionally been done through human history and is practiced today in many traditional cultures. I will have more to say as I work through the 500 page book.

Jack Harich
Posts: 292
Joined: Sat Jul 02, 2005 5:43 pm
Location: Atlanta, Georgia, US
Contact:

Re: The Truth Literacy Emergency Campaign

Postby Jack Harich » Thu Dec 15, 2016 4:24 pm

Thanks. Let me try to address your first question:
“1) Are people who feel cornered and desperate for any change or those committed to religious doctrine, knowingly voting against their interest and aware of the deception, but nevertheless, being driven by other behavior and choosing Trump anyway? If so how does the dueling loops model account for this.”

From what I’ve seen, people are routinely manipulated into voting against their own best interests by clever deception. You simply paint a big problem that appeals them that you can solve. The big problem distracts them from other problems.

For example, your gun rights are about to be taken away (even though they are not about to be taken away). Say this over and over in many ways, and it will inflame the passions of gun owners. They will then ignore other things the politician will say or do, because they (mistakenly) believe he will prevent their guns from being taken away.

People in a developed nation don’t routinely “feel cornered and desperate for any change.” Those passions are inflamed by rabble-rousers like Trump.

On the second question:
“2) Is there some other type of education other than traditional schooling, or are there specific fields of study, that allows people to be more likely to detect deception?”

Traditional education has nothing specific about how to detect political deception, unless you take college courses in formal logic. To fill this gap, Thwink.org has published some example of how truth literacy could be raised from low to high. The best is Truth or Deception, a 48 page pamphlet.

About Plotkin's research. You wrote:
"Plotkin's insight can be applied to the dueling loops model by considering that those in the egocentric adolescent stage are more likely to fall for deception and lies while those who have moved out of the adolescent stage are more likely to detect deception."

Certainly it helps for people to be more mature. There are plenty of ways to measure this and to improve it. But these are indirect and thus very expensive methods of raising general ability to detect political deception. More cost effective is to raise just the one trait needed, a person's ability to detect political deception.

For example, there was a strong correlation in the Clinton versus Trump election, in that college educated whites were much more likely to vote for Clinton. But 76% of Americans over the age of 30 lack a college degree. Think how impossibly expensive it would be to drop that 76% to 40% or so, and how many decades that would take.


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